2. Giving Instructions

How to Give Instructions

Whenever possible, use steps or bulleted lists to tell merchants how to do something. Some important points to note:

  • If order is flexible, start your instructions with the easiest step, or add an easy step. This makes it easier for the merchant to start, and once they've started, they're more likely to complete the list (nobody likes leaving things unfinished when started).
  • If you have to give them a link, make it obvious, i.e., Click here to do this. Don't bury links in the text.
  • Bold important actions within the text to emphasize them.
  • If something doesn't fit neatly in the list but it's important, use a "P.S.", as these are most likely to be read.
  • Never say a step is "simple" or "just do it". This isn't a Nike commercial; give them steps and they can decide if it's easy.

Here's an example:

Q: How do I manually update the plugin?

Hey John,

Happy to help out here! We can get the plugin updated with a few steps. Please:

  1. Log into your WordPress admin
  2. Go to the "Plugins" menu and find the plugin you want to update
  3. Click the "Delete" action and confirm it -- don't worry! this won't delete your settings for our plugin, so they'll still be there when we update.
  4. Once you've removed the plugin, Go to Plugins > Add New
  5. Last step! Click "Upload from .zip" at the top and upload the newer version. Once you've activated it, your existing settings and configuration will still be in place.